Monday, September 29, 2008

White Chicken Chili

Makes 6-8 Servings

3-4 cups cooked, cubed or shredded chicken
6 cans Great Northern or Navy beans
6 cans White Kidney beans (Canellini)
2 cans Rotel tomatoes
1 can green chilies
2 - 16oz. sour cream
2 tablespoons cumin
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon garlic powder


Put all ingredients in a crockpot and stir until well mixed. Cook on low for 4-6 hours. Taste and add more seasonings if needed. Serve with sour cream, tortilla chips and shredded or nacho cheese.

This is my favorite white chili recipe. I have tried several other ones and they are all delicious as well, but the added tomatoes in this recipe and the combination of ingredients is delicious. We always sprinkle shredded cheese on top or stir in nacho cheese and scoop the chili out with tortilla chips. I love this!

Menu Monday

It's Menu Monday again! We had a successful grocery shopping weekend, so I've got a freezer full of meats and veggies now--love it! Recipes for this week's items to follow.

Here's the menu for this week:

Banh Trang

Chicken Enchiladas
Black Bean Soup
Salad with Italian Vinaigrette Dressing

White Chili

Cheeseburger Macaroni
Green Beans

Scalloped Potatoes w/ Corn & Ham

Unfried Chicken
Carrot sticks w/ Ranch
Broccoli & Cheese Rice

Eat out with inlaws

Friday, September 26, 2008

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes 2 Dozen Cookies

1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
2 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 sticks butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 eggs
3 cups chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans or walnuts


Preheat oven to 350.

Cream butter, sugars, vanilla and lemon juice. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until mixture is fluffy. Add oats, flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon, stirring well after each addition. Add the chocolate chips and nuts and mix well. Scoop by rounded tablespoons onto greased cookie sheet or parchment paper-lined cookie sheet and bake for 16-18 minutes.

These cookies are a combination of my two favorites, Oatmeal Raisin and Chocolate Chip. I've added 1/2 cup of raisins to the dough as well and it tastes very good that way. I love these cookies warm out of the oven with a tall glass of milk. The cinnamon flavor in combination with the oats and chocolate is so delicious and really makes it feel like fall! Store in a sealed container and they stay nice and chewy.

Crockpot Bert's Chicken

Makes 8-10 Servings

4 cans cream of chicken soup
3lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast portions - frozen or thawed
1/4 cup garlic powder


Grease crockpot and lay chicken in the bottom. Pour soup on top and sprinkle garlic powder over it. Toss and mix until it's all well coated and evenly distributed in the crockpot. Cook on low for 4-6 hours until chicken is cooked through. Serve over hot cooked rice or egg noodles.

EASY EASY EASY!!! You can add any other seasonings or meats if you like, but we like ours just like this, plain and simple. When it's done cooking, we always taste test first and add more garlic, salt, pepper, etc., if it's needed. Hearty comfort food for the upcoming chilly nights! We usually have a veggie on the side and rice is also just as good on pasta.

Overnight Breakfast Bake

Makes 6 Servings

1 cup baking mix (Bisquick, Jiffy, etc.)
1 1/2 cup shredded cheese
2 cups milk
1 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon parsley
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
6 eggs, beaten
1lb. breakfast sausage, browned and drained


Mix all ingredients in a large bowl, reserving 1/2 cup cheese for topping. Cover and refrigerate 8-24 hours, or overnight. Pour into a greased casserole dish and bake uncovered at 350 for 1 hour, or until a knife inserted in center comes out clean. Turn oven off. Sprinkle 1/2 cup shredded cheese over top of casserole and let sit in oven until melted.

This is my favorite breakfast to make on the weekends because it allows me to sleep in! A lot of the time I prepare it the night before along with dinner and just stick it in the fridge. Then the next morning when I wake up, I pop it in the oven. Sometimes I even put it in the oven and go back to bed for one more hour! Then we all wake up to a home-cooked breakfast without the mess and fuss.

Blueberry Muffins

Makes 12 Muffins

1 egg 1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup of milk
1/4 cup of oil
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup blueberries


Preheat over to 400 degrees. Beat egg in a large bowl and add milk and oil, mixing well. Mix dry ingredients and add to liquid. Mix until moist. *Do Not Overmix* Stir in berries gently, until well combined. Place in greased or paper-lined muffin tins and bake at 400 for 20-25 minutes.

This is our family's tried and true blueberry muffin recipe and it turns out super delicious every single time. I can never stop myself from having at least one...okay...two...fresh hot muffins straight out of the oven. I split those babies open and put a pat of butter between the halves. Delicious!!!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Italian Vinaigrette Salad Dressing & Marinade

Makes 1 Cup

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup white vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoon parmesan
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 clove garlic, finely minced


Mix all ingredients in container with lid. Cover and shake well.

This vinaigrette is super easy and fast and is designed to use items that you have on hand already. It can be made using balsamic vinegar or red wine vinegar, but most people have white vinegar already in their pantries, and it tastes very good in this recipe. It makes my mouth water just thinking about it!

Cheater Spaghetti Sauce

Makes 6-8 Servings

2 cans tomato sauce
1 can diced tomatoes
1-2 lbs. ground Italian sausage, mild, hot or both
20-30 meatballs, cooked
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup Italian Seasoning
2 tablespoons parsley
2 tablespoons oregano
1 tablespoons basil
2 teaspoons garlic powder


Brown ground Italian sausage over medium heat, adding garlic for the last 3 minutes. Saute until cooked. Add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, seasonings and sugar. Heat to boiling. Add meatballs. Boil for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve with cooked pasta or over hoagies.

This spaghetti sauce is my shortcut version of Nana's classic old Italian sauce. Sometimes I mix in a can of tomato paste and I also like to mix in some diced onion and green pepper with the garlic sometimes for a bit more kick. This is great for when you're short on time but want a classic tasting Italian sauce. I like to have more than one kind of meat for flavor, and I never drain the fats from the meat. I leave the fat in there from the ground meats and I also dump the juices from the meatballs in with them after I take them out of the microwave. When I make scratch sauce, I use 4 different kinds of meat: chicken, meatballs, Italian sausage and beef (brasciol). (Nana always uses lamb as her fourth meat, but it's not as popular in my house as it was in hers, so I usually count the meatballs as my fourth meat.) It just makes the sauce that much heartier and tastier. Add some garlic bread and salad and you've got a delicious meal that everyone likes.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Nelson's Veggie Omelettes

Makes 1 Omelet

2-3 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup each, chopped: green pepper, red onion, green onion, tomato, etc.
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2T butter


On medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of butter. Saute veggies until crisp-tender, stirring occasionally. Remove sauteed veggies from skillet and put aside in small bowl. Wipe skillet clean of residue. Melt other 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat and pour in beaten eggs, spreading around pan evenly. Cook to desired doneness. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add sauteed veggies and cheese along the center of the omelet. With a wide, flat spatula, flip right side of omelet over filling. Repeat, folding right side over again, allowing omelet to "mesh" and cheese to melt. Carefully use spatula to remove to plate, sprinkle with additional cheese or seasonings if desired and eat!

These omelettes are to die for. My poor husband gets nagged to make them for me all the time! We eat them at least once a week. We mix it up with different veggies, and/or meats, like 1/4 cup cubed ham or ground sausage, and different sides like toast or english muffins and sausage links or bacon. This is an extremely versatile dish because you can customize the filling and seasonings to anything you're in the mood for! We like to make a Mexican version with peppers, ham, sour cream and salsa. We have freshly brewed coffee with a few splashes of some flavored creamer and some good old Florida orange juice to top off this great breakfast. Delicious!

Banana Bread

Makes 1 Bundt or 2 Loaves or 12 Muffins

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 eggs
3-4 overripe bananas, mashed
1/2 - 1 cup chopped nuts, depending on how nutty you want it


Place bananas in a mixer and beat until mushy. Mix in sugar and butter until well combined. Add eggs, one at a time and beat after each addition. Add all the dry ingredients and stir well. Add vanilla and nuts and mix. Pour into a greased bundt pan, 2 loaf pans, or a muffin tin and bake at 350 for 40-50 minutes.

Banana bread is so versatile. It can be sliced thinly and used to make peanut butter sandwiches for lunch. It can be spread with butter and eaten for breakfast. Or it can even be spread with frosting and eaten for dessert! There are so many ways to eat banana bread. My parents prefer theirs with frosting, as do my kids, of course! I like fresh out of the oven, sliced warm with a little butter on it. I could eat banana bread for breakfast every day! Another great thing about this recipe is that it makes use of those brown bananas we all seem to acquire sitting on our countertops!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Banh Trang Vietnamese Spring Rolls

Makes 6-8 Servings

Rice paper (banh trang)

Rice vermicelli noodles 

Lettuce leaves, sliced into strips
Cooked shrimp
1 can pineapple chunks or slices, drained
3 lbs boneless pork ribs
3-4 green onions, cut into 4" sections
6-12 eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons  sugar

1-2 tablespoons fish sauce  (We use the squid not be afraid! It mostly tastes like salt. The smell is the worst part, but once it's cooked into food, it doesn't taste how it smells.)

2 tablespoons oil

Hoisin Sauce 
Sriracha pepper sauce 

Ground peanuts


Put noodles in a large bowl and pour boiling water just until covered. Let sit for several minutes, until soft.

Stir in sugar and fish sauce into beaten eggs. In a large skillet heat oil. Pour eggs in and cook until scrambled and cooked through. Remove to a plate and cut into 3-4" strips.

Place pork roast into a large pot and cover with water. Heat to boiling and allow to boil until meat is cooked through, about 20 minutes depending on the size and cut of your meat. Remove from heat and cut into 3-4" strips.

Fill large shallow pan with warm water--make sure the pan is large enough to hold a rice paper sheet in.  Slide a rice paper sheet into the water, pressing it down until it sinks and remains covered with water. Let it sit for maybe 5 seconds and pull it out. It will be more flexible than when you put it in, but not soft yet--it will continue to soften as you fill it. Make sure there are still a couple stiff spots. The paper will soak in additional water during assembly and will soften. If the paper is completely soft when you remove it, it won't retain it's shape as well and will often stick together and tear.

Lay the sheet on your plate or platter. We put all the ingredients and water on the table and just have a big assembly line. But sometimes we prepare them all ahead of time to make it easier on people, especially if we have guests or are super hungry.

Now it's time to layer and wrap! Put a slice of lettuce in the center of the paper on the left side--it should cover about 2 inches by 4 inches, so you may need a couple slices, depending on how you cut your lettuce. Then layer about 1/4 cup or so of the cooked vermicelli noodles. Then layer shrimp, pineapple, pork, green onions and eggs on op of these and put your hoisin, sriracha and ground peanuts on top. It takes a couple tries to figure out exactly how much filling to put in so it isn't too full or too empty, but once you get the hang of it, it's much easier.

Pull up the ends tightly and then start rolling from the left side, like a burrito. The paper will stick together and make a seal, keeping all the ingredients inside.

Serve with bowls of additional hoisin and sriracha and dip in as you eat.

This looks and sounds complicated, I know, but trust me when I say it really isn't! The hardest part is all the slicing and preparing, but once you've got all your filling ingredients prepared and ready, all you've got to do is assemble and eat. We can usually get this meal on the table in under an hour and it is a family favorite. Most of the ingredients you can find right in your grocery store, in the ethnic food section. The rice paper, vermicelli noodles and fish sauce may need to be purchased in an Asian market if you can't find them in your grocery store, however all of our local Publix markets carry these items. Enjoy. :)

Menu Monday

It's Menu Monday! The day I print out my Weekly Menu Planner and go through my cupboards to see what I have and what I still need. Then I plan my menus for the week and make a grocery list, making sure I have all the ingredients I need for dinners for the week. I don't usually plan breakfast and lunch, but I always make sure I have plenty of those items on-hand. Those are usually spur of the moment decisions, unless my hubby requests something specific for breakfast on the weekend. Monday is also Farmer's Market day here so we get all our fresh fruits and veggies on Mondays as well. It sure does help with the planning!

Here's the menu for this week:

Nelson's Fried Catfish
Fresh steamed Brussels sprouts
Cheese grits

Mexican Goulash
Heavenly Cornbread
Salad with PW's Homemade Ranch Dressing

*Date Night*
Macaroni and cheese for the kids
Olive Garden for us

Bert's Chicken & Rice
Sourdough Bread

Chicken Salad Focaccia
Sweet Potato Fries

Chicken Enchiladas
Black Bean Soup

Eat out with inlaws

And just to show you what I use, here is my Printable Weekly Menu Planner for you. Nothing special and really simple, but it's just what I need. Sometimes I jazz it up and add some graphics or print it on pretty paper, but most of the time I am so busy and in such a hurry, it is just plain old black and white. Happy Monday!

Weekly Menu Planner

Southwest Goulash

Makes 4 Servings

2 cups uncooked macaroni
1 lb ground beef or ground turkey
1 10oz. can of diced tomatoes with chilies
1 15oz. can of tomato sauce
1 can chopped green chilies
1/2 cup chopped white onion
1/4 cup chopped green onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
2 tablespoons parsley
2 cups shredded cheese (Cheddar, Monterey Jack or Pepper Jack are best!)


Cook macaroni according to package directions. Brown the meat in a large skillet. Drain and return to skillet. Add minced garlic and both onions and saute until veggies are tender. Add rest ingredients except cheese and macaroni. Stir well and then stir in macaroni and 1 cup of cheese until well coated. Pour into a greased 13x9 dish and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.
*NOTE: You can skip the baking step if you are short on time. Just simmer in skillet for 15 minutes and then sprinkle with cheese and serve.

This is a delicious and easy dish that I can throw together on a weeknight in 30 minutes or less. I serve it with either some fresh bread or cornbread and a salad. It is a tad on the spicy side, so if you don't like yours that spicy, you can easily omit the green chilies and the spicy seasonings. I have also mixed in 1/2 cup of chopped green peppers to mine, adding them at the same time as the other veggies. My husband likes to put sliced jalapenos on his. Delicious!

Heavenly Cornbread

Makes 8-10 Servings

2 sticks of butter, melted
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
3 cups baking mix (Bisquick, Jiffy, etc.)
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder


Melt butter in microwave. Mix all other ingredients in a large bowl. Add melted butter and stir until combined. Pour into a greased 13x9 pan and bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

This is absolutely the best cornbread I have ever had. It is soft and moist like a cake, yet has the unmistakable flavor of cornbread. Yes, it's a lot of butter, but that is what makes it so moist and tasty...hey, I never claimed to have low-fat recipes! We like to eat this cornbread with a variety of things: goulash, jambalaya, soup beans, black beans & just goes with everything! Throw together a salad and you've got a meal!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Best Ever Blueberry Cobbler

Makes 10-12 Servings

1 large can pineapple pieces
3 cups blueberries
1/2 cup sugar
1 pkg yellow cake mix
1 stick butter, melted
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped


In large bowl, place blueberries and pour sugar on top. Toss to coat. Set aside. Spray 13x9 pan, pour pineapple and spread. Spread blueberries on top. Sprinkle cake mix over the whole thing. Pour melted butter over cake mix evenly. Sprinkle brown sugar and nuts evenly over the top. Bake at 350 for 50 minutes.

This is by far the BEST blueberry cobbler I have ever eaten. I love eating it warm for dessert...okay, eating TWO helpings warm for dessert. Then I find myself eating it cold the next morning for breakfast. Oh so shameful! I love the combination of the sweet blueberries, tart pineapple and oh so drool-worthy crumb topping on top. I live for crumb topping. My Dad is a blueberry hater. He never liked blueberries his entire life. But he LOVES this cobbler! Amazing! It is delicious. It sure doesn't last long in our house!

Linguine & Clams

Makes 6-8 Servings

1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans clams with juice
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 - 1 lb. Fresh steamed clams, or two small cans
16 oz. linguine pasta


Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and saute until lightly browned. Add clams & juice and stir. Add seasonings and stir. Stir in cooked linguine and toss to coat. Spread fresh steamed clams on top, if desired. Use tongs to serve.

This is a classic Italian favorite that my Nana has made for years. Back when they had a house right off of St. John's River, we'd always get fresh seafood right off the dock in their backyard, but now we prepare this with canned is still quite tasty! Of course, I am a seafood girl. Every once in awhile we treat ourselves to fresh, and there is nothing like getting a flavorful bite of this pasta swirled onto your fork and then scooping some fresh steamed clams right out of the shell and into your mouth. This is a delicious dish and we like to have a salad and fresh Italian bread along with it. My husband isn't as much of a seafood lover as I am, so this is a very rare treat for me. My Dad likes to eat his with Italian tomato sauce on top, but I love mine just the way it is. You can't go wrong either way.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Timothy's Turkey Burgers

Makes 12 Burgers

3 lbs ground turkey
1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 cup finely diced onion
2 egg whites, lightly beaten
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper


In a large bowl, mix turkey, bread crumbs, onion, egg whites, parsley, garlic, salt, and pepper. Form into 12 patties. Cook in a skillet, on an outdoor grill, a Foreman grill or you can broil in your oven! 

Okay, so there's a story behind this one. I used to love using ground turkey in place of ground beef. When my husband and I were poor college students, we used to make miniature burgers out of ground turkey because we liked it, and also because it was DIRT cheap! We'd serve them with shoestring fries and it was one of my favorite meals. Then I got pregnant with our daughter Annabelle, and suddenly I couldn't eat ground turkey. The sight, the smell, the taste, the very THOUGHT of it made me throw up. Annabelle is now 6 years old and I hadn't eaten a single bite of ground turkey since being pregnant with her in 2001 until earlier this summer when I went to my brother Timothy's for a Memorial Day pool party and bbq. He made these burgers. They smelled heavenly. I took a risk and tried one. I about fainted, they were beyond delicious. The seasonings were perfect, the meat was moist and flavorful and I am now once again a ground turkey lover! And I owe it all to him! So here you have it, Timothy's Turkey Burgers!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Crockpot Kielbasa & Cabbage

Makes 6-8 Servings

1 head of cabbage, washed and chopped
1-2 lbs kielbasa, sliced
4-6 cups water
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon seasoned salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon Old Bay


Place cabbage and kielbasa in a large crockpot. Pour water in, just until everything is covered. Usually around 4-6 cups, depending on the size of your crockpot. Sprinkle seasonings and stir well. Cook on low for 4-6 hours, until cabbage is cooked. Stir in additional seasonings to taste.

I usually have to sprinkle and stir several times until I reach the taste I want. I serve this with hot biscuits and butter...I like to put my buttered biscuit in my bowl and eat it with the soup. YUM! We had this last night. It's the perfect chilly evening meal!

Spinach Chicken Cannelloni

Makes 10-12 Servings

16 oz. manicotti pasta, cooked
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into pieces
1/4 cup butter

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
10 oz. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 egg
1 teaspoon basil
teaspoon oregano
teaspoon parsley
teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
2 garlic cloves—finely minced and made into a paste with kosher salt *see below*
4 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/4-1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste
Parmesan cheese


Preheat oven to 350

Saute chicken breasts in 1/4 cup butter in large skillet until slightly browned. Remove from fat and drain well. Melt 1/2 cup butter in saucepan along with the minced garlic paste. Use wire whisk to blend in flour; slowly add milk, a little at a time, whisking after each addition. Cook and stir over medium low heat until sauce is thickened and smooth. Stir in heavy cream and cheese, stirring until melted and combined. Add seasonings to taste. Put chicken in a large bowl and cover with about 1 cup of the sauce. Stir and let rest. Stir together 2 tablespoons of the parmesan, spinach, ricotta, egg and seasonings. Using your fingers, a fork, or narrow tongs, put one to two slices of chicken in each tube. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of moist filling into each Cannelloni on top of chicken, making sure each tube is well filled—I usually use frosting tubes or a baster for this part. Place in 13x9 pan, repeating until all pasta and filling is used up. Spread sauce on top, covering all the pasta, letting some spill over the sides and in between pasta. Sprinkle each layer with grated Parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes until sauce is bubbly and top is lightly browned. Serve with additional parmesan.

Garlic Paste:
2 minced garlic cloves
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Mash together until a paste forms. Takes a few minutes so be patient!

I myself prefer to use flat pasta noodles and place all the filling in them, roll up and place seam side down in the pan, but I have to shop at the Italian market for that and manicotti is easier to find and works just as well. I’ve also done it with lasagna noodles in a pinch. You can of course use pre-made alfredo sauce if you’d rather.

Easy Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

Makes 2 Dozen Cookies

1 box devil's food cake mix
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 eggs


Beat all ingredients together until it starts to pull away from the bowl and forms a soft ball. Shape into balls, place on baking sheets and use a fork dipped in sugar to make a criss-cross shape on top. Bake at 375 for 7 to 8 minutes.

These are really easy and fun to make with the kids. My girls like to pull up their step-stools and help by mixing, rolling the dough into balls and making the criss-cross shape on top. This is the easiest cookie recipe I've ever made and it is delicious too! They stay soft for days when sealed in a ziploc or container.

Me again!

It's been way too long since I posted here! The past year was extremely hectic and difficult for me and the rest of my family as my brother was deployed to Iraq and we went through the process of packing up our home, moving in with my inlaws, and listing our house on the market! Although I will be here at my inlaws' until our house sells and we can purchase and move into another one, I will try my best to stay busy in the kitchen, creating and trying new recipes for you! I will try to do better. For now, check out the most recent recipes and don't forget about the archives! There's a lot of good recipes in there. Have a great weekend!

Chicken Salad Focaccia

Makes 4 Sandwiches

1 can pizza crust dough
3 teaspoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary

1 1/3 cup chopped cooked chicken
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 green onions, chopped
1/2 teaspoon mustard
garlic powder
onion powder


Preheat oven to 350 

Unroll dough onto sprayed cookie sheet. Starting with short end, fold dough in half and press lightly. In a small bowl, mix oil and garlic. Spread over dough. Sprinkle with salt and rosemary. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until edges are golden brown. While that's baking, mix all chicken salad ingredients in a bowl, seasoning to taste. Refrigerate 15 minutes. To serve, cut warm focaccia into 4 pieces. Split each piece to form 2 layers. Spoon and spread salad on bottom halves of focaccia pieces, cover with top halves to form sandwiches.

These are a family favorite and I find myself making these at least once a week. I usually have to triple the recipe for me, my husband and our three children. We usually eat either tater tots or potato chips along with these. Pudding makes a nice cool dessert to this light meal.

Easy Meatball Hoagies

Makes 4 Servings

2 cans crescent roll dough
20 or so meatballs, halved
Spaghetti sauce
1 8 oz. package mozzarella slices or cheese sticks
1 beaten egg
Garlic Powder


Preheat oven to 375

Unroll dough, separate into 8 rectangles, press perforations to seal. Place meatball halves down the center of each rectangle. Spread a couple spoonfuls of spaghetti sauce on top, then tear a slice of mozzarella in half and put end to end vertically on top of meatballs, or if you are using the sticks, just put it next to the meatballs. Pull the wide ends of the dough up and pinch together to seal in a pocket, with the ends open to vent. Brush with the egg, then sprinkle parmesan, garlic powder and salt. Bake for 17 minutes until golden brown on top and sauce is bubbly, cheese melted, etc.

One of our top favorites!! I serve these with a big garden salad with PW's Homemade Ranch Dressing. We usually have something simple, like Choco PB Cookies for dessert. Easy and delicious, and best of all, FAST.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Easy Italian Bread

Mmm, growing up my mom made this bread and it always smelled so good. I remember the smell of the yeast as she made the dough, and the smell of the dough as it was rising and the smell of the bread as it was baking…takes me right back to my childhood home…

Makes 1 Loaf

4 cups flour
1 package yeast
2 tablespoons warm water
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup warm water


Dissolve yeast in a small bowl with oil and 2 tablespoons warm water. In large bowl combine flour, salt and sugar. Stir in 1 cup of warm water and yeast bowl contents, making sure to get all the yeast from the bowl. Add 1/2 cup more warm water if needed. Knead dough for 20 minutes. Put in oiled loaf pan and turn to coat with oil. Let rise 2-3 hours until double in size. Knead again 20 minutes. Cut slit on top, add oil into slit and bake at 450 for 30 minutes.

This simple recipe has been in my family for as long as I can remember. The fragrant smell it gives off while baking still brings back memories of childhood. No matter how many times I make it, I can never resist that very first warm slice with a pat of butter on it. This bread goes great with practically any meal, or it can be sliced to use for sandwiches, or buttered and seasoned for garlic bread. Nothing beats this bread!!